Some media were invited to the set of Star Trek: Discovery in August and have started releasing reports and videos. We have gathered some highlights from the first set to be released which reveal a closer look at the USS Discovery bridge, the cast talking about their characters, more story and character details from the showrunners and a few more little bits of info.
Video tour of the USS Discovery bridge
TV Guide (which is owned by CBS) released this video tour of the bridge of the USS Discovery. The narrator may not be fully briefed on what he is showing, but you can get a good look at the set.
Cast talk about their characters
CNET (also owned by CBS) has just released this video interview compilation with the cast talking about their characters.
How the war will be fought and end
Much has been discussed about how the backdrop of the first season of Discovery will focus on a war between the Klingons and the Federation. However, a consistent theme from reports from the set tour is that this show doesn’t revel in war and this is reflected in the characters. Such as this passage from the IGN report:
“These Starfleet officers who find themselves in war are very quick to remind the audience that they didn’t sign up to do that,” says Harberts. “That they are explorers first, that they are diplomats first. So our officers are quick to comment on the fact that this is not Starfleet’s mission. War is not why we’re here. And in fact, Discovery is a science vessel that has been conscripted for the war effort.”
Of course once you introduce a war story, you have to have a way of resolving it. Harberts went on to discuss finding the “Star Trek way”…
“…How do you end a war, how do you find peace, without crushing and annihilating your opponent? And to me, that’s the Star Trek way of doing a war story. It’s not the Federation annihilates the Klingons. It’s Starfleet and the Federation figure out a way to truly make peace. Now we know that when TOS picks up, that peace doesn’t last. But we have to find peace in our time, in our slice of the Star Trek pie. That’s a really important thing to us, and we’re going to offer up a way that these two warring factions come to an understanding.”
And Harberts added on to what Alex Kurtzman recently said, noting that the war will get wrapped up by the end of the first season (via CNET):
“We want to put to bed the Klingon-Federation war,” Harberts said.
Dealing with canon and ‘Enterprise’
Of course we have heard a lot about how the show respects canon, but the people behind the show know that the introduction of things such as the changes in the Klingons or giving Spock an adopted sister raise some eyebrows. But they are promising these things will be resolved (CNET):
Harberts promises to answer why you’ve never heard of Burnham or the Discovery before, but he declines to elaborate.
The people behind the show promise the different look will somehow fit in with Star Trek’s established canon, which, admittedly, is already pretty inconsistent when it comes to Klingons….”It’s not arbitrary,” says Chieffo, who enjoys the hairless look. “So much can happen in 10 years.”
Harberts also talked specifically about how the show Star Trek: Enterprise creates some special challenges with regards to canon (IGN):
I find that Enterprise actually has made things the most limiting, because of some of the retconning that they did in certain ways. And we consider Enterprise canon as well in certain ways, and just as valid, and we’re always trying to kind of make sure that that’s taken into consideration. So I think the most limiting thing is just trying to tell stories that don’t screw up, or screw with anything, that fans are going to be looking out for.”
More character details
On T’Kuvma (CNET):
Here’s how Harberts describes Klingon leader and chief antagonist T’Kuvma: He comes to power under the creed “Remain Klingon,” promotes isolationism and rails against the Federation because its multicultural approach will erase what makes Klingons, Klingons. Mary Chieffo, who plays T’Kuvma’s battle deck commander, L’Rell, describes the Klingon leader as someone who does a lot of talking.
On L’Rell (CNET):
While T’Kuvma does a lot of the talking, Chieffo said L’Rell pulls a lot of the strings in the background, noting that the family on her mother’s side specializes in deception and working in the shadows
On Michael Burnham (TV Guide)
Burnham’s main area of operation is engineering, and a good chunk of the show will be spent in the below-deck room…Engineering is important as a focal point of Burnham’s life and career, but there’s also a — you guessed it — mysterious reason for the room, all focused around a series of canisters embedded in the wall. Harberts paraphrased a line from Lorca, saying, “we’re coming up with a new way to fly” — and these canisters, and what the engineering team is working on, are a key part of the plot…And in engineering itself is something called “the reaction cube,” which plays a big part in the first season of the show, and provides “a lot of different types of reactions,” Harberts said, vaguely.
On Lt. Stamets and Dr. Culbert (TV Guide)
For Discovery, that means treating Culbert and Stamets like any other couple. Harberts noted during a tour of the set (and the couple’s bedroom) that they’ll spend a lot of time “downloading” while brushing their teeth at the end of the day, or just spending time together and figuring out their own relationship drama. After over five decades of LGBT fans begging the various showrunners and producers to add characters who represent them, it almost feels like Discovery should be making a bigger deal out of “the Stamets family,” as Harberts refers to them. But like Nichols and Takei before them, the big deal is how not a big deal it is onscreen.
More tidbits from the tour
Here are a few more random observations from the various reports:
- Lorca prefers to walk around instead of sitting in the captain’s chair and uses a standing desk in his office
- Battle map of Klingon War in Lorca’s office gets updated each episode
- Many of the buttons on the set actually work like one that pops up little screen on Discovery captain’s chair
- “Hologram pedastals” in place of viewscreen conversations
- Tilly is said to have “strange sleeping habits”
- Communicators use an iPod nano behind the central screen
Star Trek: Discovery premieres on September 24th on CBS with all subsequent episodes on CBS All Access in the US. In Canada Star Trek: Discovery will premiere on Bell Media’s CTV and the Space Channel on the same night. Netflix will launch Star Trek: Discovery on Monday, September 25 to countries outside of the U.S. and Canada.